AUBURN GRESHAM — Pamela Bosley plans on celebrating her son Terrell Bosley’s 25th birthday Saturday — at a cemetery.
He was gunned down in 2006 while leaving choir rehearsal at a South Side church, and his mother and a host of other relatives of victims of gun violence are now calling for "sensible" gun laws in the wake of violence that has wracked the city and nation recently.
“I will never see him smile again,” she said Thursday at a press conference at St. Sabina Church on the South Side. “And he had a beautiful smile.”
The relatives joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other religious and community leaders in urging state lawmakers to pass legislation that would track gun transfers, ban assault weapons and limit the purchase of ammunition.
Annette Holt’s son, Blair Holt, was shot dead in 2007 while riding a CTA bus home from Percy Julian High School on the South Side where he was a student.
“No mother should have to go through the ordeal of knowing their child was violently taken away from them,” Holt said. “And it has only gotten worse since my Blair's death.”
Blair’s father is Ronald Holt, director of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, who said he, too, favors stricter gun laws to help reduce violence.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who was joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, encouraged everyone to contact their state legislators immediately and tell them to vote for reasonable gun laws.
“Weak guns laws is what separates Chicago from other large, urban cities,” McCarthy said. “In 2012 we took nine guns off the street for every one gun in New York. In total, the Chicago police confiscated 7,400 guns in 2012 including 300 assault weapons."
“These parents here today have to go to the cemetery not to visit their kids, but their tombstones,” the mayor said. “Gone are those days when they could look them in their eyes and tell them they love them. Now, all they have are images to stare at and not a person to hug and kiss.”
Ald. Latasha Thomas, whose 17th ward includes Auburn Gresham, said if a conceal and carry law goes into effect in Illinois that would contribute to violence in her ward.
“Unfortunately, Auburn Gresham is one of the most violent communities on the South Side. If more guns are allowed on the street it would no doubt spike the shootings in my ward,” explained Thomas. “People are angry these days. They have no job, no money and are stressed out. And you mean to tell me this is the type of person you want to legally be able to carry a gun? I don’t think so.”